How long is the entire employment (immigrant) visa process?

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The issuance of an immigrant visa requires processing by the USCIS, NVC and United States embassy or consulate. The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) limits the number of employment based immigrant visas that are issued each year based on the EB preference category. Each preference category is assigned a number of immigrant visas. In addition, there is a limit to the percentage of immigrant visas that can be allotted to each country in a year. Typically, since the demand for immigrant visas is higher than the limited number and greater for some countries, an immigrant visa ‘waiting list’ forms. The foreign individual’s place on the ‘waiting list’ is determined by their ‘priority date’. The ‘priority date’ for the EB-1 category is the date the petition was properly filed with the USCIS. As such, the foreign individual’s ‘priority date’ and country of origin will determine the time the Immigrant Petition will remain at the NVC until an immigrant visa number becomes available.